Meat traders in Bataan stage pork holiday
BALANGA CITY—At least 50 meat retailers here stopped selling pork at the city’s public market on Friday in a one-day protest to dramatize their objection to the government’s price ceilings on pork and chicken.
Meat vendor Juan Ortiz said they had been losing income since the price cap was imposed by the government because the farm-gate price of pork was already at P255 a kilo and they were required to sell it for only P270 a kilo.
The small markup would just be cover for market stall rental cost and other vending expenses, he said.
The price ceilings on pork—at P270 a kilo for shoulder cut and P300 for belly cut—were contained in Executive Order No. 124 issued by President Duterte last month amid rising prices of the meats.
The prevailing price for pork is now P400 at the city’s markets. For dressed chicken, the price ceiling was set at P160 a kilo compared to the prevailing price of P200 per kilo in public markets.
The high prices of pork are partly attributed to limited supply caused by outbreaks of the African swine fever (ASF) affecting hogs in the country.
Balanga is one of the cities adversely hit by ASF since last year. In the entire Bataan province, only Limay town remains ASF-free.
Most pork vendors get their supply from other parts of Central Luzon and as far as northern Luzon where there were no reported cases of the hog disease.
Mayor Francis Garcia was scheduled to meet with city public market personnel and the protesting pork vendors to discuss the issue. —GREG REFRACCION
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